Print 37 comment(s) - last by xplice.. on May 7 at 12:03 AM

Third gen Samsung flagship phone packs a bigger battery, quad-core CPU, Ice Cream Sandwich, and other refinements

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) packed approximately 1,000 journalists into an auditorium in London, UK on Thursday afternoon for the unveiling of its latest and greatest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S3.

I. Higher Res. Screen, Faster Processor, Better OS

The last couple weeks leading up the launch have been relatively chaotic.  Conflicting rumors have flown about the Galaxy S3, even as second-place Android phonemaker HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) has pushed its South Korean rival to step up its game.  HTC releasesd the slick LTE-equipped One X (One XL, internationally), which AnandTech's in-depth testing showed putting other Androids to shame in battery life and processing power.  In fact, the One X was the only Android smartphone to come close to matching Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) acclaimed iPhone 4S in battery life.

First off, the Galaxy S III comes packing a quad-core Exynos SOC running at a speedy 1.4GHz (as we previously reported) which is paired with 1GB of RAM.  Later versions, including international versions may come with a different processor, perhaps a Texas Instruments, Inc. (TXN) OMAP 4 series chip.

Although rumors had pegged the Galaxy S III's screen resolution at 1080p, it actually comes sporting a 1280x720 4.8" HD Super AMOLED (PenTile RBGB, for better or worse).

Physically, the smartphone is a bit larger than the Galaxy S II and measures 5.33" x 2.67" x 0.35" and weighs in at 4.7 ounces.
Samsung isn't about to start a megapixel war with the Galaxy S III as it comes with a rather mainstream 8MP rear camera and a 1.9MP front-facing camera. While both of these camera may seem like old hat, the front-facing camera has a few tricks up its sleeve. Using what Samsung calls "Smart Stay", the front camera can monitor your eyes to determine if you're browsing the internet or reading an eBook. The camera uses this information to adjust the brightness of the screen automatically. Time will tell if this feature turns out to be a gimmick, but it's an interesting addition nonetheless.

Initial versions will come with either 16 GB or 32 GB of NAND flash memory.  A later variant will air with a beefier 64 GB of NAND, duplicating the trio of iPhone 4S capacities.

The phone packs a beefier 2,100 milliamp-hour battery (7.7 watt-hour @ 3.7 volts).  That makes it one of the beefiest Android batteries out there.  But as the HTC X showed in upstage the much higher capacity Motorola Mobility, Inc. (MMI) Droid RAZR MAXX, capacity is second to firmware refinement.

Hopefully Samsung's new graphical gloss -- TouchWiz can keep pace with the dramatically slimmed-down version of the Sense UI just released by HTC.  Samsung's proprietary user interface will be paired with Android 4.0.4, the latest version of "Ice Cream Sandwich".

II. Just Like the iPhone 4S -- Voice Assistant, but no LTE (Yet)

Connectivity wise the phone supports Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+, and 40 MHz 802.11n WiFi.  Near-field-communication for wireless billing is also onboard, as is a refined GPS unit, which features GLOSNASS reception (GLOSNASS is Russia's rival to the U.S.'s global positioning system (GPS)).

The third generation Galaxy S also features proprietary voice assistance software, which is strikingly similar to Apple's Siri.  One might thing this would lead to more legal trouble for Samsung, but it's important to recognize that Siri is largely a rebranded piece of software from Nuance Communications, Inc. (NUAN), the world's top voice recognition firm.  Samsung's "S Voice" helper is likely a similar licensed Nuance design, giving Samsung a modicum of legal safety. 

The Galaxy S III will launch in Europe on May 29, while the U.S. launch is a bit murkier -- Samsung is only stating that U.S. carriers will receive HSPA+/LTE variants of the Galaxy S III this summer.

Sources: Samsung [via Yahoo Press Releases], Engadget

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By Arsynic on 5/3/2012 4:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
Am I supposed to be excited?

By Brandon Hill on 5/3/2012 4:19:00 PM , Rating: 5
"Are you not entertained?"

By One43637 on 5/3/2012 4:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
"Spaniard Spaniard!!..."

By ChronoReverse on 5/3/2012 4:25:46 PM , Rating: 1
Well it's definitely better but honestly it's something of a letdown.

Most notably, I was hoping it'd be a "Plus" AMOLED (i.e., non-Pentile).

The design also isn't as nice (in my eyes of course) as the One X.

By TheRequiem on 5/3/2012 4:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
I honestly cannot see a difference with this type of resolution, however, the aesthetics of this phone (the brushed metal look around the phone) is amazing, it's amazingly sleek and thin. You can see better pics on

By adiposity on 5/3/2012 6:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
I have pentile on the Droid 3. It is very noticeable, especially since the Droid I came from did not have pentile.

However, I can honestly say it doesn't bother me anymore. I am used to it. But text is definitely not as sharp as the Droid, I just deal with it since I have a bigger screen, now.

By WalksTheWalk on 5/3/2012 5:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that I was expecting a high resolution SAMOLED+ screen instead of the Pentile display. That would have been a treat!

The design itself isn't bad, it's just not much of a change from the Galaxy S II. The design still works and I'm sure the thing is fast.

All in all, I'm sticking with my SGS2 for the foreseeable future until something comes along that provides a compelling reason to buy. The SGS2 still performs great in real world usage and I don't see anything on the horizon that requires a quad core CPU, more GPU, etc.

By bug77 on 5/3/2012 5:19:08 PM , Rating: 3
I agree that I was expecting a high resolution SAMOLED+ screen instead of the Pentile display. That would have been a treat!

What kind of a treat? At this density, you can't tell the difference anyway, as several reviewers (of other phones using pentile matrix for resolutions this high) agree.

If there's one thing I can criticize SAMOLED, is their greenish tint. Don't know if SAMOLED+ is any better, haven't seen any yet.

By Solandri on 5/3/2012 8:12:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's pretty hard to notice pentile with graphics (your color vision resolution is lower than black and white). But when displaying mono-color text, it's pretty easy to see that it's lower resolution.

Tints are easy to get rid of with a color profile. I'm surprised the manufacturers aren't loading a rudimentary color profile. It's a software fix for a hardware bias, but it's such a simple thing to do. You can even make several profiles at different color temperatures to satisfy all people. Once again, it's Apple who is pushing the envelope on the graphics front. The greatly improved color accuracy test results on the newest iPad make it pretty obvious that they added a pre-calibrated color profile.

By retrospooty on 5/3/2012 4:28:03 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno... Its a great phone, but similar in spec to the HTC one X. I would be excited to have either, but the One X was first.

By Adam M on 5/3/2012 6:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, I'm pretty underwhelmed here. I suppose I should reserve judgment until Sprint announces their version, probably under the EPIC LTE moniker. I doubt that version will offer any significant changes. I previously asked if I should get the EVO LTE or wait for a Galaxy 3, this marginal upgrade on the Galaxy 2 provided my answer.

Not impressed...
By One43637 on 5/3/2012 4:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
It looks like they didn't bother to do anything but tack on a few things to the Galaxy Nexus. Which is a great phone, and I would have jumped all over it, if it had an micro SD card slot. I'm hesitant on getting another Samsung after my GS I took forever and a day to get updates.

RE: Not impressed...
By stm1185 on 5/3/2012 4:54:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not too impressed either, except for the siri clone, why buy it over an HTC One X? Or wait for the next Nexus? or iPhone?

It does not seem to really do anything new or better. They copied Siri ok, and I guess that sets them apart from the other Android phones, but if they really want to take the lead shouldn't they be creating the must have new feature and not play catch up after the iPhone.

Voice to take picture sounds kind of interesting, but a dedicated camera button works better imo. The design is nice enough but still kind of generic Android handset; its not like the Razr or Lumia phones where its very striking.

At first glance it seems like a catch up device, not a big step forward. It also does not look superior to HTC's offering that is out much sooner.

RE: Not impressed...
By jimbojimbo on 5/3/2012 6:03:57 PM , Rating: 3
Voice to take pictures is actually pretty clever. It's easy to implement and now you can rest it somewhere and take a group photo easily. By voice!

I read it can also take 20 pictures straight at 3fps so you can get those action shots. That's not too shabby for a camera phone really. In fact this article failed to mention a lot of new features this has such as facial recognition and sending the picture to anybody it recognizes. Also with the Smart Stay the main feature is that if you're a slow reader it'll see that you're staring at your phone and not shut off the screen. That's pretty nice and their tablets should get this feature due to more text per page.

RE: Not impressed...
By WalksTheWalk on 5/3/2012 5:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
In regards to updates, Samsung has added a bunch of their own software on SGS3 so it's going to take them longer to code and test their software updates for each iteration of Google's official OS update.

I really hope Samsung takes a cue from HTC and starts to release less devices with better support and higher quality. This would allow them to focus more effort on a smaller group of devices instead of pushing out devices one after the other and none of them getting high quality support.

RE: Not impressed...
By One43637 on 5/4/2012 12:22:52 PM , Rating: 2
In regards to updates, Samsung has added a bunch of their own software on SGS3 so it's going to take them longer to code and test their software updates for each iteration of Google's official OS update.

This is the biggest reason I will always wait for the Nexus product announcement when I want to buy a new phone. I'm not saying all of the customizations that OEMs do are bad, it's just it takes forever to release the new Google update.

Sure Touch-Wiz looks like Fischer Price, but they had some nice ideas (IE swiping right on a contact name calls, swiping left messages).

With that said, I'm currently on an HTC Sensation and I'm still waiting for ICS.

RE: Not impressed...
By Solandri on 5/4/2012 6:37:39 AM , Rating: 4
They copied Siri ok, and I guess that sets them apart from the other Android phones

There's a strong tendency to give Apple credit for "inventing" things which existed long before Apple's version, simply because Apple's marketing is so good. I noticed a similar thing with Microsoft back in the 1990s. Most of my non-tech friends thought Microsoft invented the Internet, simply because their first exposure to it was through Windows and Internet Explorer.

I was doing voice search and voice tasking on my Android phone nearly a year before Siri ever came out. Voice search, voice dialing, compose and send texts by voice ("send text to Jane Doe: I'm almost there, see you soon!"), voice navigation ("navigate to 123 Main Street, Springfield"), etc. It's just that Google never really advertised it. Voice assistants have been around since the 1990s. I was in grad school back then, and there were regular radio ads for Wildfire. It was a voice assistant you accessed over your home/business phone, and interfaced with your computer to schedule appointments, search contacts, etc.

Apple did not "invent" these things. And Samsung (or anyone else) is not "copying" Apple by implementing them. These were things which had been implemented by others long before Apple even got into the phone business. Yes Siri is more polished (it's mostly a voice interface for Wolfram Alpha), but that's just the natural evolution of technology. Companies one-up each other all the time, coming out with better versions of things other companies have implemented. It's called competition and progress.

Don't be like my friends who thought Microsoft invented the Internet. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because the first place you happened to see a voice assistant was on an iPhone, that Apple invented it, and anyone else doing it must be copying Apple.

RE: Not impressed...
By One43637 on 5/4/2012 12:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
Not too impressed either, except for the siri clone, why buy it over an HTC One X? Or wait for the next Nexus? or iPhone? It does not seem to really do anything new or better. They copied Siri ok, and I guess that sets them apart from the other Android phones,

I agree with your points, but just to clarify Siri is powered by Nuance. Siri is also powered by Wolfram Alpha and Yelp reviews. So Apple didn't create it, like another user said. It was just all packaged together. Maybe Samsung licensed something similar to create their own branded thing.

That voice to take pictures sounds cool, but I would rather have the ability to take video and pictures at the same time. Actually, thinking about it, it would be awesome to have both in a smartphone.

RE: Not impressed...
By ShaolinSoccer on 5/4/2012 3:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
Not too impressed either, except for the siri clone, why buy it over an HTC One X?

According to HTC's website, it has:

1.5 GHz, dual-core LTE version (USA and select countries)

While the Galaxy S III has a quad core.

Anyways, am I the only person who wishes someone would make a phone that is a mixture of the S III and Sony's Xperia Play and have it on Sprint? I don't need a physical keyboard. I just need a physical game pad. I can do all my typing on the screen, no problem. And Sprint's truly unlimited data plan is a necessity for anyone who wants to download large sized games.

RE: Not impressed...
By bug77 on 5/3/2012 5:15:21 PM , Rating: 2
I would have jumped all over it, if it had an micro SD card slot

Go ahead then, because it does.

RE: Not impressed...
By jRaskell on 5/3/2012 5:47:24 PM , Rating: 2
I believe he was referring to the Galaxy Nexus being a great phone that he would have jumped all over if it had a micro SD slot.

RE: Not impressed...
By bug77 on 5/3/2012 7:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
My bad. Reading fail.

And it has a microSD slot
By BugblatterIII on 5/3/2012 3:25:44 PM , Rating: 5
Not everyone cares, but for me and many others that would have been a deal-breaker.

I'm glad not every high-end phone has ditched them.

By WalksTheWalk on 5/3/2012 5:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that an SD card option rocks for local storage. I hope these new phones allow the entire system storage to be used for apps too. Having an app partition and a separate storage partition for the built-in storage space is a bad design.

No soul, all PR.
By anandtech02148 on 5/3/2012 8:41:09 PM , Rating: 1
The sad state of cellphone business is all clones with no soul, just like the state of American pop music, dont' even bother with Kpop. For a billion dollar company they should at least have an innovative packaging design, this is just a lazy copy of Iphone 3G. At least Motorola is trying something with Rzr series. Consumers should punish these clone manufactures, else its just cheap plastic looking device that come out every 3 Months, at least Apple has something worthwhile.

RE: No soul, all PR.
By TakinYourPoints on 5/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: No soul, all PR.
By WalksTheWalk on 5/4/2012 4:33:18 PM , Rating: 2
You're exactly right. Samsung definitely copies Apple, then puts their own spin on it. In some cases they copy too much, leading to some of the lost court cases. Samsung is walking the line between copying Apple and being inspired by Apple. In turn, Apple walks their fine line between copying other innovations and being inspired by them.

All things said and done, it's good for the consumer because there's a lot of choice in the market. Even with carriers, most people complain about the pricing and policies but there is more competition there too. For example, there are many more options for pre-paid vs the old post-paid cellular model.

The times are a-changin'.

RE: No soul, all PR.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/5/2012 9:39:06 AM , Rating: 2
lol same old tired disproved argument. You are SUCH an Apple fanboi it's disgusting.

Yeah besides being thinner, lighter, having a bigger screen a MicroSD slot, a removable battery, etc etc etc, clearly this is a copy of the iPhone. Really? You honestly see this as a copy?

Keep trolling Tony.

For better or worse
By adiposity on 5/3/2012 6:29:12 PM , Rating: 4
(PenTile RBGB, for better or worse).

I believe I can answer that for you.


LTE coming for U.S.
By Chadder007 on 5/3/2012 3:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
CNET's article states that it will have LTE in the U.S. when released this summer.
While this is the global version that Samsung showed off at its unveiling event, an LTE version of the Galaxy S III phone will come to the U.S., but it isn't slated until summer

RE: LTE coming for U.S.
By Brandon Hill on 5/3/2012 3:39:48 PM , Rating: 1
Already fixed as there were conflicting reports earlier :)

Too small for a tablet
By henrikfm on 5/4/2012 2:57:21 AM , Rating: 2
4.8 inches, are you kidding me?

It's too big, and the design sucks.

By xplice on 5/7/2012 12:03:41 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking about getting this phone, but now seeing its specifications I see no reason to upgrade from my current Galaxy phone.

And I'm not talking about the S2 either. I still have the 2 year old Galaxy S I9000. I just upgraded to ICS 4.0.4 with cyanogen mod and my friends who are still on the S2 with gingerbread agree that, overall, my phone is better - until they upgrade as well, of course.

With 4.0.4 the I9000 is lighting fast and butter smooth, I can't see any need for additional cores - I'm not running a database or trying to decode the human genome. Its a freaking smartphone - I'm making calls, emails, browsing the web, playing some simple games and taking some photos. The form factor, weight and resolution are perfect in my opinion for my hand, pocket and eye.

Another thing I just don't get is the hype around LTE. Who the hell is going to benefit from LTE??? In the RARE RARE moments when the network is not overloaded I get download speeds of around 600kbps on HSDPA. At that speed I can reach my monthly cap of 4GB in UNDER 2 hours! So with most networks being overloaded and most datacaps being low AND most media that you would want to download on your phone being relatively light (youtupe etc) - I ask you who will really be able to use the new technical possibilities of LTE and who would want to anyway??

I admit my graphics core is getting a bit weak. I can't play a few of the top games titles like GTAIII. But oh well...

It seems we are reaching a similar paradigm that the PC industry got to in that hardware manufacturers needed to innovate and differentiate their products by making them more powerful in order to attract consumers. However the performance available in top end computers would only be useful to a select few such as programmers and media workers. This of course led to the brief netbook revolution.

One benefit to having really powerful phone hardware would be for advanced AI to make the user experience far more intuitive. Siri seems to be a good start at that, but still there is so much space there for development and innovation. This will take a long time to advance as AI is one of the most difficult software challenges we face today. And right now hardware is advancing at a far more rapid pace than the software.

PS I know flashing you phone is not for everyone, but it is getting easier all the time.


speculation about the Galaxy
By sarfralogy on 5/3/12, Rating: 0
OMG, It's a white phone!
By Integral9 on 5/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: OMG, It's a white phone!
By retrospooty on 5/3/2012 4:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
Its a tough call, because Apple invented the white phone and the black phone, and silver as well. I guess everyone else will have to go with primary colors or just rainbows.

By WalksTheWalk on 5/3/2012 5:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised Apple doesn't have one of their special overreaching patents for a black or white slate-style phone.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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